Molds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when mold spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. Some studies claim that exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death. Prolonged exposure, e.g. daily home exposure, may be particularly harmful. Research on the health effects of mold has not been conclusive.
Mold in the home can usually be found in damp, dark or steamy areas e.g. bathroom or kitchen, cluttered storage areas, recently flooded areas, basement areas, plumbing spaces, areas with poor ventilation and outdoors in humid environments.
Fungi are divided into four main groups:
- Phycomycetes or Rhizopors (black brad mold)
- Ascomycetes including Penicillium and yeast
- Basidiomycetes which are mushrooms,
- Fungi imperfecti, which include the Aspergillus and some Penicillium species.